Rep. Maloney Says State Dept. Report on Human Trafficking Reveals Need for Further Action
WASHINGTON, DC – Following the release today by the U.S. State Department of its 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report (report), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) expressed concern about the mixed results in the battle against human trafficking. Despite some encouraging steps forward on this issue, broad progress has been slow in some of the world largest countries.
On the positive side, the report shows a more than 50% increase in the number of convictions for human trafficking – from 3000 in the 2005 to 4700 in this year’s report. Additionally, 41 additional countries have implemented some form of anti-trafficking policies.
The report rates countries on a three tier scale, with those in the bottom tier becoming subject to sanctions. Some success stories include Ecuador, where the First Lady has adopted trafficking as her own personal cause, and Malawi, the first sub-saharan African country to receive the highest ranking.
However Maloney is highly concerned that Russia, Mexico and India for the third year in a row remain on the Tier 2 watchlist, meaning that they are in danger of sinking to the level at which sanctions would be imposed.
“This report is an important yardstick of the progress we are making in combatting one of the world’s most terrible and persistent crimes: the trafficking of human beings,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “While some countries have clearly made progress, it’s clear that some nations that are the most serious contributors to human trafficking are not taking the necessary steps to combat it.
“This report should serve as a wake up call that more needs to be done. The countries who have lingered on the Tier 2 watchlist year after year should be told to take serious steps to put an end to this business the way Ecuador and Malawi have done or otherwise face real penalties.”
Ambassador at Large John Miller, director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, noted that, “While many governments have made progress, it is disappointing that several major countries remain on the Tier 2 watch list. For the third consecutive year these countries such as India, Mexico and Russia have shown no signs of progress in their anti-trafficking commitments.”
Along with Representative Deborah Pryce, Congresswoman Maloney helped author the End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act, which targets the demand side of trafficking, and was incorporated into the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the State Department is required to produce an annual report that reviews recent trends in human trafficking and places countries on a four tier scale based on their commitment to anti-trafficking policies.
The State Department estimates that between 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, and an additional 2 to 4 million people are trafficked within their own borders. Most of the victims are women and children. Each year an estimated 14,500 people enter the United States through trafficking rings. Experts say human trafficking is a $10 billion dollar worldwide industry and sex trafficking is the third largest and fastest growing crime ring in history.